Check It Out: Readers may burst out in song




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"The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook"

By Fred Bronson; Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 95 pages

“The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook”

By Fred Bronson; Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 95 pages

I can still remember the first record album I bought with my own money: the soundtrack from “The Sound of Music.” It was the 1970s, and owning that record thrilled me to no end.

I watched the movie several times on television (if I remember correctly, there was usually a special broadcast right around the holidays), but a yearly viewing just wasn’t enough to satisfy me. Since I didn’t get to see it very often (remember, those were the days before videocassettes and DVDs), playing the soundtrack on my portable record player — over and over again — allowed me to enjoy the film’s wonderful Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein soundtrack any time I wanted.

Now, of course, I can watch “The Sound of Music” any time I please, thanks to my DVD player. In fact, I watched it not long ago, and even to this day, I can’t help but sing along with Julie Andrews and the rest of the von Trapp gang. The songs are burned into my head — so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if the lyrics were visible on a CAT scan of my brain. “Mrs. Johnston,” the neurologist would say, “Your brain is fine. But you do have a bad case of ‘Do-Re-Mi’ stuck in your head.”

Having a “Sound of Music” brain isn’t such a bad thing, I’ve decided, so when a new library book about the film crossed my path, I clicked my heels together (just in my head, of course). Filled with never-before-seen personal photographs and memorabilia from the actors who played the von Trapp children, as well as charming stories and even a DVD of the actors’ home movies, I found “The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook” an enchanting read.

I had often wondered if the actors had as much fun making the movie as I do watching it. From this week’s book, you’ll get the sense that a true family atmosphere existed — off-screen as well as on-screen. Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich von Trapp in the film, writes about acting with Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

“On set, Julie behaved much like her character Maria, as Christopher … took on the persona of Captain von Trapp. … For all of our time in production, Julie was like ‘mom,’ and Chris was like ‘dad.'”

It probably won’t be surprising to read about the weeks of rehearsals needed to perfect the complicated choreography in scenes of the movie. The charming “Do-Re-Mi” sequence between Maria and the children is one of them, as is the very sweet “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” scene between Liesl and Rolf.

It might surprise you to learn is that when Charmian Carr, the actress who played Liesl, began the filming of her dance routine in the gazebo, she accidentally smashed right through one of the plate-glass windows. Amazingly, a badly sprained ankle was her worst injury, and with the help of an injection administered by a studio doctor, she was able to complete the three days of filming needed for that scene.

There is so much more to discover in this unique behind-the-scenes tour of one of cinema’s most beloved musicals. If your personal best-movies list includes “The Sound of Music,” consider checking out this delightful book. And if it inspires you to burst out into song, don’t hold back. Let the hills be alive … with the sound of reading!